Posts Tagged ‘IT satisfaction’

8th

It can be very challenging to manage a cost center where the CEO feels that the value provided is insufficient for the costs.  Yet that is the very situation many CIOs face every day.  How did such a difficult circumstance arise, and what can be done to overcome it?

If the CEO thinks IT doesn’t deliver enough value for the buck, that can’t be a good thing

Years ago I recall reading that the purpose of technology within a company is three-fold:  increase revenue, reduce costs, and enhance the differences that cause a Finding Valuecustomer to select our company over our competition.  But while we understood this in a theoretical sense, IT at most companies became primarily dedicated to cutting costs.  Many of the factors contributing to this were addressed in my post on Moving IT from Cost-Cutter to Difference-Maker.  As this post indicated, cost centers are typically managed by continually reducing their budget.  This results in an even larger percentage of the IT budget dedicated to keeping the lights on and fewer dollars available for technology projects to move the company forward.  It is important for IT to move away from being seen as a cost center toward being a business driver.

But even being seen as a cost center does not necessarily cause the CEO to believe that IT costs are too high for the value received.  After all, you don’t often hear that cost centers like Accounting or Procurement are too expensive.  And while the size of the technology expenditure quickly shines a spotlight on IT, that in itself doesn’t mean that the company is not receiving enough bang for its technology buck.

How is the CEO supposed to know the value IT brings?

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20th

The CIO may historically have had no stronger ally in the C-suite than the COO.  The focus of both roles has typically been on improving operational efficiency and reducing costs.  A large percentage of IT projects supported these twin objectives and may have ultimately been under the oversight of the COO.  It is interesting that many COOs express that they face an issue of visibility.  When everything is running smoothly, they rarely receive the credit they truly deserve.  Yet when things go wrong, they can appear to be in the crosshairs.  That is very much akin to an issue the CIO faces in keeping the lights on.high-five_business_partners

Today’s COO faces increasing demand and complexity.   Perhaps more than ever before, companies are realizing that although cost minimization and efficiency are very important, they must be careful not to adversely impact functions that customers value or that are needed to achieve strategic goals.  As such, the COO is being called upon to strike the balance between efficiency and flexibility.  Change has become more of a constant, and the COO is assuming a major role in the business transformation necessary to achieve the strategic agenda.  Again, isn’t it easy to see the commonality with what the CIO is being asked to do?

CIOs have seen so much synergy in the roles that they envision the COO position as their next step up the corporate ladder (Forbes’ Beyond CIO series).  But even with all this in common, COOs view their relationship with the CIO as one of their least successful among other executives.  In fact, just 32% of COOs consider their relationship with the CIO to be very strong (The DNA of the COO by Ernst & Young).  

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14th

Isn’t it ironic?

Companies look to IT to develop systems to improve the relationships with their customers.  Yet when it comes to building relationships with the rest of the business, IT often seems to be out in the cold.Buidling relationships 2

Developers build and enhance CRM systems so that companies can track every customer interaction.  The CRM system can know what products a customer has purchased and what offers he has been given.  It can be aware of how the customer prefers to interact and a bit about his decision-making process.  The system may know the customer’s marital status, number of children, and the college he attended.  It can detail every interaction the customer has had with the company.  And by coupling corporate information with external data, systems can be more predictive of customer behavior and buying patterns.

With all this, IT should be extremely knowledgeable about building relationships…right?  And of course, the CIO should be a master at it.

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6th

IT professionals love to change things.  The opportunity to make a difference has attracted many to the profession.  They enjoy the challenge of coming up with a new idea. time for change They enjoy brainstorming and analyzing with an eye toward improvement…incrementally as well as revolutionary.  You can see the twinkle in their eyes and hear the excitement in their voices as their thoughts start to jell into a plausible solution.  They are willing to put in many long, hard hours to help these ideas become a reality.

But while IT professionals are very good at identifying, constructing, and implementing automated solutions to improve processes and procedures, the people side of change seems to often be lacking in many projects and in many organizations.  The people side is hard.  Automating a process, for example, can change a person’s daily routine, his job, his career.  At times it also causes job elimination.  Helping people prepare for, accept, and embrace such changes is not necessarily as much a matter of logic as of listening and caring.

Yes, helping others to change is hard.  But it is even harder when we have to change ourselves.

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31st

Have you ever had a client who wants the universe, gift-wrapped, and delivered yesterday?

I’ve heard many IT departments claim that such excessive demands are exactly what their clients are insisting upon.expectations-danger-sign

But step back for just a moment and put on a different hat…. When you order a new PC over the web, what do you want as a customer?  Do you really believe the manufacturer should pay you $10,000 just to take that PC off his hands?  Do you think that FedEx will be ringing your doorbell with package in hand as soon as you hit SUBMIT on your purchase?

When you think about it, what do you as a customer want out of a product?  You want something that is of good quality, that is delivered on a timely basis, and that meets your needs.  But if the product you receive is excellent, will you always be totally satisfied with your buying experience?  Of course not.  Even if the product itself far exceeded your expectations but the order taker had been extremely arrogant and rude, you would see your buying experience as lacking.

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